How Busy Executives Can Job Search

The jungle may be wild, but it has nothing on the corporate food chain.

You felt the thrill of it in the early days and somehow emerged on top, with all your hair in place. Nowadays, you go through the motions and rise to meet the challenges, celebrating successes with your team, but your heart’s not in it anymore — either that, or what you’re feeling is heartburn due to burnout.

The only strategies you’ve seriously considered are exit strategies, but how do you find a new job with zero time and several full plates balancing on wobbly sticks built from pieces of the corporate ladder? Dedicate the time to conduct your job search without mismanaging it all — because your heart must be in it if you hope to succeed.

Don’t Limit Your Professional Relationships and Contacts

It’s all about perspective. Many executives focus on the quantitative rather than the qualitative, which serves strategy well when interpreting data, but not so well when it comes to engaging in professional networks and connections to find the best fit for your future job. See your relationships as more than transactions.

Don’t envision professional relationships as a means to an end. When you limit these contacts, you cut off opportunities and your future. When a recruiter calls or emails, you don’t engage because you feel you don’t need them right now — or at all. Imagine if you act terse in the exchanges you do take! Recruiters and similar contacts are like elephants — they remember, especially in the big game of corporate headhunting.

Throughout the day, your exchanges with others fade to the back of your mind, but they also represent faded opportunities. Take the extra minute to engage.

Define Your Story the Way You Directed Your Career

Did you sit back and let others determine what you did with your life or direct your career? No. You took the initiative then, and you’ll do it now to find and claim the best position for you.

Define your story, and don’t let others tell you what it is — when you do that, all you do is give up power. You feel the world is wide open for your special set of skills and possess varied ideas of what else you’ll do. It’s like when somebody asks what you want for Christmas — any seed of an idea vanishes at the mere mention of “wanting” something more. Don’t let others define the exact parameters of what you can or would contribute to your next leadership position. They won’t have the incentive to do it for you — that’s your job. What you’ve done and what you can do are different, and as you know from the past, interview questions don’t encompass or express the precise details between the two. You need to fill in the blanks over the phone, coffee and large conference desks.

Words are powerful, and the way you define yourself as an individual and professional affects how you act, interact and direct your energies in life and during a job search. Others will believe what you tell them about yourself. So, define your story the way you’ve directed your career. Steer it to your success.

Do a Self-Evaluation While Tracking Your Search

To ensure a successful search, regularly evaluate the developments of your strategies and steps after a month, three months and six months. Analyze what’s going well and what needs to change.

Conduct a self-evaluation, from your application materials and interviewing skills to your past contributions and what you put on social media. Ask yourself why you move to final rounds but receive no offers, and why your resume receives less than the desired response. Do you give flat, cut-and-pasted descriptions of your experience, or offer dynamic and engaging solution-oriented information with details? Could your LinkedIn profile use an improved and updated endorsement? Do your public social media profiles portray you in a professional light?

Get detailed. Use precise action verbs to portray contributions and abilities in application materials, such as “engineered” over “formed.” Save your files with your name, file type (“resume”), date and company to help both you and the employer locate relevant materials more quickly. Make white space your friend, and use appropriate headers to make information easier to find.

It’s OK to Outsource

Clearer on where you want to go and why? Feel a plan for the job search formulating in your mind? Heart pumping? Good.Now, how do you find time to do the work? Break it into steps. Conduct quick editorial passes on your application materials with achievable mini goals, such as switching out those passive verbs for more active word choices.

Making detailed changes may make you feel like your job search is a waiting game of preparation over acting. When that’s the case, it’s OK to outsource. For example, you may decide to outsource writing your cover letter or resume. Many outside services help their leadership applicants land interviews at rates of 86 percent or higher, and can help you refine your career objective. Added perspectives only enhance the power of your application materials and job search strategy. You always have the final say.

Cultivate and claim your story to direct your job search strategy and land the best position for your next move. Engage in warm exchanges, and treat professional networking relationships as opportunities instead of transactions. Don’t limit yourself that way, or you’ll spend your job search waiting for opportunities to come to you.

Likewise, be open to outsourcing job search tasks and updates you can’t make the time for. Outside perspectives will enrich your application materials and perspective on the job search. Be honest with yourself about what you want next, set your executive hawk eye on your goal and go get it.

Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she's a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. You can find her tweeting on her coffee breaks @SarahLandrum

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